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The State of the Race: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

“We are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
― Carson McCullers

We knew it was going to be a crazy year because for the first time in 65 years of DGA/Oscar history the Oscar nomination ballots were turned in before the DGA nominees were announced. For a weary and busy Academy, the DGA can often provide a guidepost on how to vote. Usually there are one or two names that don’t match, but they’re not usually the two strongest contenders in the race.  That was unusual. This is partly because Academy voters were flying blind, without the DGA, PGA, WGA and ACE Eddie. They had only the films they’d seen and knew they liked to consider as evidence.  Not the powerful expert testimony of a voting body as big and powerful as the Directors Guild.

This experiment in accelerated deadlines could have gone either way. It could have confirmed to us what many assumed — that everyone votes roughly at the same time and they all vote for roughly the same things. Or it could show how very much the Academy voters lean on the major guilds. I think today it revealed the latter.

But the way it went was that two films with deep guild support and precursor heat across the board, including numerous critics awards and DGA nominations, both missed Best Director at the Oscars — Ben Affleck for Argo and Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty. Surely, these were the two biggest shocks of the day, and completely unpredictable. We always say we want surprises but what happens when those surprises don’t turn out the way we want them to?

My best advice to Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow is to look at Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg. These two are embattled veterans of Hollywood and the Oscar race and both have been left out many times. Both have lost in crucial ways, in humiliating ways. Both are directors with career peaks that mark two of the most contentious Oscar years in history: Saving Private Ryan vs. Shakespeare in Love and Brokeback Mountain vs. Crash.  Look at them now.  Look where they stand today.  They’ve both weathered the storms and emerged to once again direct two of the best films of their careers.

Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg represent the resilience of artistic evolution that can come from suffering these kinds of losses. Defeat is not always a bad thing.   

There will be many explanations given for why Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck were left off the list. The first and most compelling reason, to me, was the hasty date change by the Academy — in Bigelow’s case especially, the urgency forced a premature verdict based on fast first impressions even faster knee-jerk backlash. But the second reason is more basic and nothing new. It may simply be that films by other directors are more emotionally moving. Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour and deeply touching, unforgettable films. Add to that Life of Pi and even Silver Linings and you have a group of four found ways to make audiences respond emotionally.  Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild are visionary, outstanding works of art. It is too bad that their directors’ nominations came at the expense of two great filmmakers this year.

Bigelow has already made DGA history by being the first woman to be nominated for two DGA awards.  But we can’t lay blame on sexism and leave out the thorny politics involved in Zero Dark Thirty. We really can’t because the politics made an enormous difference this time.  Like it or not, this profound controversy has become one of 2012’s strangest hallmarks — that Zero Dark Thirty found itself square in the middle of an ongoing war of ideology and interpretations of history.  Bigelow is the one, sadly, who has received most of the scorn.  And yet, we can’t even say these factors are the whole reason for Zero Dark Thirty’s disappointing showing.  At the end of the day, the directors that did get in made films that appealed to the heart in undeniable ways, something Zero Dark Thirty and Argo don’t try to do. In a year where it felt like hot-button politics would drive the zeitgeist, the year has instead turned to focus on relief — films that offer up a catharsis.  So the two stories about the middle east became, perhaps, too sensitive to touch, and the tales that illuminated the spirit were suddenly more attractive.  Strange, that.

The rickety, imperfect masterpiece that is Lincoln took the lead today with 12 nominations, deserving every one. Lincoln is about so many things.  It is distinctly American and is the work of three equally vital sources of inspiration. Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, but also her living memorial of Abraham Lincoln himself, done right over a period of many years. Tony Kushner’s screenplay written and rewritten, down from 300 pages to just one pivotal moment in Lincoln’s presidency and in American history. And a director who has come a long way since the old days of haunting backlots with his super-8 and his baseball cap. Spielberg was so careful this time around to not include so many overly sentimental flourishes but instead let the story speak for itself.

It is not surprising, at the end of the day, that this film is leading nominations across the board.

But that doesn’t mean Lincoln is our winner. There are many different ways the race could go from here on out. All stats and  precedents could be tossed  in a year when the entire process was thrown into disarray. Here are just some of the weird things that have happened this year that have never happened before:

  • Oscar ballots were turned in before the DGA, PGA, WGA and ACE announced
  • BAFTA decided for the first time ever to vote only from individual branches, with no “long list”
  • Oscar voters voted only on the films they were able to see which, with less time to dig down the stack of screeners, might mean they voted without having seen everything.
  • The kerfuffle with online voting — who knows how that may or may not effected voting in the end.
  • Usually Critics Choice ballots would be cast AFTER Oscar nomination so tonight we might see Kathryn Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty win, even though Bigelow is not even nominated for an Oscar. That disconnect could cause a ripple effect and could maybe impact Zero Dark Thirty’s awards in other categories down the road.
  • The DGA now has only two contenders who’ve gone on to be nominated for the Oscar so really, the Critics Choice prize can probably only go to either Ang Lee or Steven Spielberg — but what if it doesn’t? What if it goes to someone else, like Tom Hooper or Bigelow or Afleck? Could that signal enough strength for an eventual Best Picture win for those films, even without a Director nod? If it comes down to precedent, we know those upsets are rare.

As of now, only one film has gathered every component a Best Picture winner needs, and I’m not even going to touch the critics awards.  A SAG ensemble nod, WGA, DGA, PGA certifiction, and probably ACE Eddie (tomorrow those nominations come out), and the most nominations heading into the race. Nominations in key categories: Picture, Director, Actors, Screenplay, Editing.  The films with all those bases covered is Lincoln.

Second to Lincoln would be Ang Lee’s Life of Pi because it also has WGA, DGA, PGA and probably ACE Eddie. It has no acting nominations and wasn’t nominated for the SAG, which makes it a LONG SHOT — an exception that carries a logical asterisk. *(a film about a sole survivor doesn’t leave much room on the boat for an ensemble to shine).

After that, there are really only three other movies that can win, based on stats, and those would be Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour and of course, Silver Linings Playbook.

With key nominations for Silver Linings Playbook in Picture, Director, Acting (all four categories), Editing this film has the stuff to go all the way. It could win the SAG ensemble, the Globe for musical/comedy, maybe even the Producers Guild. It could win Best Picture and Director or some combination therein. But Silver Linings lacks the Globes nod for Director AND Russell got left out of the DGA nominations. That puts Silver Lining at a disadvantage already, perhaps too crucial to overcome, though not impossible.

Any other potential winners must prevail without a director’s nomination. It’s not impossible, it’s just harder, and it goes against 84 out of  85 years of Oscar history. But this is a strange year anyway so it’s possible we have to disregard precedent entirely and could see an Oscars like we’ve never seen before. For those of you who are hoping for something like that, if there ever was a year it could happen this could be it.  Be careful what you wish for.

The Best Actress race feels like it’s been severely shaken up. True, with four acting nominations it doesn’t seem like Silver Linings will go home without winning one of those — it could win any one of them, in fact, even Best Actor. But I have to think, and agree with In Contention’s Kris Tapley, that at this point it’s Emmanuelle Riva’s to lose. She will be the oldest Oscar nominee but more importantly, she gave the best and most central performance. It’s a long shot, I realize, but with so much broad support for Amour Riva has just become an essential force to be reckoned with. Jennifer Lawrence could be Silver Lining’s one big win but it is probably down to those two.

Jessica Chastain could benefit if the buzz on Zero Dark Thirty reverses itself to make up for perceived slights. And that could happen if, say, Zero Dark Thirty wins tonight’s Critics Choice awards and Bigelow gets a standing ovation and another chance at the mic. Without a DGA nomination, sympathy could build for Chastain to be Zero Dark’s big win.

As for the sudden shock today over the absence of Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck, I am not really sure that I can invoke the dread topic of sexism without noting another another hopeful nominee — and that’s Ava DuVernay for Middle of Nowhere.  As enthusiastically advocated as I and many others did, her name was nowhere to be found in an original screenplay category of all white men. Sexism, racism — these forces are deeply ingrained in our awards race, in Hollywood and in America. Yet you’ll not find many voices of outrage to decry the diss for DuVerna. And that is because the critics failed to raise her up to the heights that they did Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty.

Did Kathryn Bigelow direct one of the best films of 2012? I think so. Did Affleck deliver with Argo ? Absolutely. But I also think Middle of Nowhere was, and Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour.  2012 was an embarrassment of riches across the board.  This is a year most of us will never forget, from the extraordinary range of brilliance in the race, to the way the race has veered beyond expectations so far.  Something tells me we are not done being surprised.

177 Comments on this Post

  1. Glenn UK

    For me, whilst Lincoln got most nods, I feel that Pi and SLP stepped up. Harvey is going to go ALL OUT now to work his magic. It’s a “feel good” year – mark my words. Now the dust is beginning to settle will AMPAS members be willing for give out number three’s to Spielberg, DDL and Field? If they are in share the wealth mode then the answer is No. Lincoln will pick up Picture or Director but not both. If ever there was a split year then this feels like the one!

  2. Antoinette

    My big take away is that they stayed with the tried and true. There weren’t a lot of first-timers. I don’t know if that’s because they didn’t see everything and played it safe or if those were their honest choices. Or they could just be fuddy duddies. All I know is 7 hours later I cannot get over BSA. I might need to be medicated.

    At least there’s Critics Choice tonight. So one party will be bumpin’.

  3. So sad, practically embarrassed by the Hooper snub. Just have to contend w/ 9 noms including best picture. And Lincoln made it in all the categories it was expected to be shortlisted. So still a lot to be cheerful about. As for the Bigelow snub, I’ll be ranting when I finally get to see it this weekend. Maybe the late and limited release hurt it a lot. As for Ben Affleck, lemme see… Humor, everyone keeps harping about the humor in Argo and I’m like, What humor? Ben Affleck can’t infuse humor in his films to save his life. He needs more time to hone his thespic skills. But I still really did like Argo. And soooooo ecstatic for Life of Pi’s 11 noms.

  4. Well said Sasha! And a damn shame about Kathryn Bigelow not making it

  5. Amour and Beasts (even Silver) are real passion movies and underdogs so I think people put them higher in their voting priority. A proof of passion in a rich year.

  6. From where I see, this race from being the most interesting in Oscar history, suddenly has turned into just any other race. Lincoln is going to sweep everything from here except Critics Choice today [or may be it will sweep it too].
    I just so wish Bigelow/ Affleck were nominated. That would have kept things up in the air. Not to mention they were very deserving.

    Infact, most of categories now doesn’t have the zing left. Lawrence is going to be the only big winner for Silver Linings. DDL for Best Actor is already sealed and so is Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Hathaway. I don’t know what to look forward to now this Oscar season. Didn’t imagine this exciting race to be over so soon.
    Is this sounding like an Obituary. Well, hell yes this an obituary to what at one point seemed like the most unpredictable race.

  7. Sasha, thank you for this beautifully written and quick reaction to the director nominations. I haven’t had a chance to digest the possible reasons for Bigelow and Affleck’s omissions. This helps a great deal.

  8. Jerry Grant

    Very well said! I especially liked this:

    “All I can say to Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow is to look at Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg. These two are embattled veterans of Hollywood and the Oscar race and both have been left out many times. Both have lost in crucial ways, in humiliating ways. Both are directors who represent two of the most contentious Oscar years in history: Saving Private Ryan vs. Shakespeare in Love and Brokeback Mountain versus Crash. Look at them now. They both directed two of the best films of their careers.
    Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg are examples of career evolution that can come from these kinds of losses. They are not always a bad thing.”

    Exactly right.

  9. Jerry Grant

    Although it could also be mentioned that Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow both already have Oscars…

  10. “So sad, practically embarrassed by the Hooper snub. Just have to contend w/ 9 noms including best picture.”

    Reno, hate to make you feel worse, but Les Mis only has 8 noms.

  11. PatrickR

    I’m disappointed that Ben Affleck didn’t get the nod for directing, but we shouldn’t be surprised by this. The Director award, above all others, is usually reserved for the most respected of directors. Occasionaly the odd actor-turned-director takes the big prize (Redford, Beatty) but they also have a signifigant footprint in the industry already. (Costner and Gibson might be lesser examples of this phenomenon.)

    Speilberg is a perfect example, however, of someone who had to pay his dues before he finally got even the nomination. (Jaws, ET, The Color Purple). I remember back in that 1980s, that it was actually referred to as a curse, that he was so often snubbed. For these reasons, I’m even less shocked by Kathryn Bigelow’s omission. She was hardly a household name when she won for The Hurt Locker. The idea of rewarding her twice (all gender arguments aside) just didn’t seem real to me. In my opinion, that’s too bad. I’d have much sooner recognized her for Zero Dark Thirty than for her previous (and I think, quite forgettable) effort.

  12. No humor in Argo? Argo (bleep) yourself!

  13. daveinprogress

    Great overview of a turbulent morning of information, Sasha. The uplift of 2010/2011 The King’s Speech and The Artist says a lot about where AMPAS’s heart has been these past couple of years. The run of ‘darker’ ‘edgier’ fare of The Departed, No Country, The Hurt Locker seems to have given way to the more emotional/friendly films. Sentiment is never far from AMPAS, whether it be rewarding a career in acting (Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock. Meryl Streep) or a film maker (Scorsese, Coens). I have to respectfully disagree with a comment i read from a recent state of the race that the Academy never looks back. I think they do. They get a certain degree of flack from their choices from year to year, and from the telecast (the producers as well as the Academy top brass) and i believe a knee jerk element is always present in their voting. Hooper’s victory over FIncher; Artist over Hugo; But it shows up sporadically and inconsistently. Safety in previous winners ala Supp Actor, but then some wildcard inclusions in Director, Actress, and Picture this year. A strange set of choices – but then it is a 6000 membership voting which throws up some quirky selections occasionally.

    My early sense of it, is that Spielberg and Lincoln will still prevail – BAFTA notwitstanding. If ever there was an actor that deserved 3 Oscars it is Daniel Day Lewis. Not sure about Sally Field, and i have felt for weeks that Anne Hathaway will win. Ever since Rachel Getting Married she has been feted for Oscar, and she is well liked personally it seems (she single handedly saved that shocker of an Oscar telecast with James Franco). Sentiment may well play in favour for Robert DeNiro, despite not receiving some crucial other pre-Oscar nominations. It is 20 years since his last nom, and he is another luminary that a 3rd Oscar would be appropriate for. (Nicholson and Streep have them, why not DeNiro?). Best Actress is a head scratcher for me right now. Normally one can barely find 1 of the 5 that are in a Best Picture nominated film – this year 4 of them! Watts is the odd woman out. I feel that weakens her chances but not completely. Jessica Chastain is the woman of the moment – so many great performances in a 3 year period. But Jennifer Lawrence also fits the Academy’s profile on whom they like to generally bestow this prize on. Interesting year. Great films as Sasha concludes. An embarrassment of riches!

  14. Daveylow

    I’m not sure anyone expected Life of Pi to be nominated by SAG since it has a small cast, no big Hollywood stars, and a lead who isn’t white, Suraj Sharma, who should have gotten some acting recognition somewhere since he had never acted and holds most of the movie together with his very being. The fact that the film was nominated in practically every category it could have been should say something. (I’m surprised Pi wasn’t nominated for costumes — like Gandh, LOL.)

    It’s a shame not have acting nominations hurts it. Though occasionally films like Return of the King and Gigi do win best picture despite the lack of acting nominations. I know Life of Pi most likely doesn’t fall into the category of those two films.

    Oh, well, I’m just happy that Life of Pi reached the voters of the Academy. It isn’t your typical Academy film by a longshot.

  15. houstonrufus

    As shocked as I was over Bigelow and Affleck missing out, I can’t get mad about Haneke and Zeitlin being included. Both those films are beautiful and brave works of art. It’s also some small solace for me that Affleck and Bigelow both have oscars. It’s not like they’ve been been left out in the cold for years and years. Though one could certainly argue that Affleck’s directorial efforts have been ignored. Regardless, I’m thrilled for Haneke and Zeitlin. Even if it makes Lincoln’s coronation feel pretty much assured.

  16. I’m telling you you can call Best Pic for Lincoln now, UNLESS it fails to win any of the SAG/DGA/PGA awards. I think Best Actress is going to be the toughest call of the major categories… it does look like Riva but let’s wait and see who wins SAG and Globe and BAFTA…

  17. Christophe

    @PatrickR
    What about Zeitlin? “Paid his dues”? “Signigicant footprint in the industry”?

  18. Daveylow

    @Reno–The one award Lincoln didn’t get that was surprising was Hair and Makeup.

    Though it was nice for Les Miz to get Hair and Makeup, all I could think about it when I saw that nomination was Aaron Tveit’s terrible blond wig in the movie.

  19. Jade Fox

    I’m with Gautam on this one. Unless the Academy does another surprise and award, say, Amour everything, this year it’s all about Lincoln. Spielberg’s biggest rivals have been kneecapped and I can’t see Life of Pi and Django truly challenging.

    Get cracking on those speeches Steve and Daniel. You two are going to threepeat.

  20. Unlikely hood

    4 of 5 Best Actress nominees helped get their films Best Picture nods. Has that ever happened before? (granted, the field expanded 4 years ago, but still.) In the old days, you’d just pick the actress with a BP nod and say it was hers to lose. Not this year.

    While you’re digesting that, consider this (knowing Sasha I’m surprised she hasn’t already said this): the four BPs with Best Actress nods are exactly the four of nine BPs that are nowhere near the $100 million club. Read that again. In other words, the five BPs that are clearly male-dominated stories (so is SLP, I guess, but go with this) are Oscar’s five $100 million BP babies and the woman-led stories aren’t.

    Why does that matter? Because of what films can get made, will get made after this year. Men rule. Perhaps that also means men have a higher bar to clear (and The Master and Moonrise Kingdom didn’t clear it). Perhaps the oscars are supporting female-led narratives more than they did. Perhaps they just got lucky before Tina Fey and Amy Poehler give us the Year of the Woman this Sunday.

    You tell me what it means.

  21. Daveylow

    Oh, dear, is the slogan for Silver Linings Playbook going to be:

    “Only one movie this season made you feel good”?

  22. Or maybe, precursors don’t matter? They all tried thier hardest to predict the Oscar and failed horribly. SLP is in best position being only film with all 4 acting nominations since Reds. And screenplay. And editing. And a this little comedy was only 4 noms behind the big machine Lincoln with all it’s old timey make up and stuff. Sorry, ship sailed tonight on ZD30 and Argo. The locks that never were.

  23. Chris138

    I’m sorry but I can’t feel that bad for Affleck or Bigelow here. Sure, it’s surprising they didn’t make the cut for best director, but they were still both recognized as producers for their films. It’s not like they were completely shafted by the Academy. Tom Hooper, on the other hand, may be a little more upset today.

    Honestly, who cares? It’s not like these are the last films that Affleck or Bigelow will make in their careers. It’s the same thing for Christopher Nolan after his snubs for The Dark Knight and Inception. Both were surprising, but it’s not the end of the world.

  24. markm9274

    I know it’s not this subject, but please someone send a working CW or Critics Choice awards stream.

  25. It goes with what I’ve been saying for a while – they are sheep. If the bloggers tell them: This will win, this should be nominated, that’s what happens. This time, they didn’t have that, and they showed us more their tastes. I welcome that whole-heartedly year after year.

    We will not always agree with their choices, but at least we cannot criticize them for not being honest.

    It’s more of a reflection of the Academy and I think that will, overall, be for the better.

  26. “No humor in Argo? Argo (bleep) yourself!”

    Exactly! The deliveries of Argo fuck yourself had poor timing.

  27. Daveylow

    I think support may grow for Naomi Watts as more of the Academy see The Impossible. Actors seem to respond to her performance. I was surprised watching the People’s Choice Awards last night while I was switching channels to hear Robert Downey Jr. acknowledge Watts’ performance in The Impossible when she handed him his award. He didn’t have to do that but he made a big deal of it actually.

    Otherwise, I think you can make a strong case for Riva.

  28. Argo has had all the time in the world to settle in. And much like Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty carried with it an expectation due to the pedigree involved and CONFIRMED by critical reception.

    The Academy is an old white guy’s club and has a history of flubbing their choices – just ask: Hitchcock, Malick, Kubrick, Spike Lee, and Kurosawa, to name a few.

    The director’s branch in particular seems to be characterized by sexism, racism, and pure pettiness in regard to the work of their “peers”. I know everyone in Hollywood has an ego, but this group takes the cake, and has since the very beginning.

    With that being said, this year is stocked with contenders, and the nominees are each deserving in their own way. Who would you replace and why? If Hooper had been in the mix, he would have made the choice easy, but he isn’t.

  29. Linc4Jess

    Somehow I am thinking “Lincoln” will sweep the OSCARS this year. Reason. It is the best film of the lot. IMHO. I was thinking that “Argo” would be the one to give it a challenge but it seems that might now switch to “The Life Of Pi”. The only place I can see “Lincoln’ not winning is in the supporting Actress category, because of all the hype of Hathaway performance, and Costume category. But who knows maybe Sally Field can still pull it out. “Argo” “ZDT”, “SLP” and “Pi” will get a few bones thrown their way. Of course anything could happen and we might still see a split with Lee taking director and Spielberg taking Best Picture. Now the nominees are all dependent on and at the mercy of hype and buzz and not as much as any artistic merits of their films.

  30. I have continually underestimated Life of Pi, and I think even some of its most fervent online backers didn’t expect the movie to be sitting No. 2 or No. 3 this morning.

    I give Lincoln the edge for BP and BD, but I think it will be Life of Pi – not Silver Linings, that is its closest competition. Lee pulled off a film for a book deemed unfilmable. And it has touched viewers in a way that few modern adventure films have.

    Life of Pi will likely pick up in the craft categories: Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, and will be competitive in Production Design, Score and Editing. Whether it can overtake Lincoln in the big’uns is too hard to tell, but if there is one film that can, it’s Pi.

  31. Joao Mattos

    Daveylow, totally agree. In fact, to me Best Actress is not-Lawrence-to-lose. It’s wide open. All the ladies have a shot, with the exception of the little Wallis. I can easily think of Riva, Chastain and Watts winning.

  32. Linc4Jess

    Please, someone check up on Tom O’Neil of Goldderby.com. Hopefully he is ok and hasn’t done anything drastic. I mean this guy was “Argo.tised”.

  33. Daveylow

    If Fox were willing to run some sort of campaign now to win Best Picture, I could see Pi giving Lincoln a run for its money but I don’t see that happening.

  34. Gregoire

    Ben Affleck did not get nominated for Best Director because five other directors earned it more in my opinion. No reason to wring your hands over that.

    Bigalow is the more egregious and more unusual snub. Seems weird that Zeitlin had more passionate support than her.

    I firmly believe Ang Lee could unseat Speilberg for best director.

  35. Unlikely hood

    Daveinprogress – right we’re both on the 4/5 BP Best Actress thing. But I don’t agree with anyone here who thinks there’s now a clear leader in Actress. Check Vegas odds tomorrow. This thing is WIDE open – try 20% chance for each lady wide open.

    Daveylow – great point about SLP’s new slogan.

    In a season of unusual whiplash, I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that 24 hours ago, Argo and ZDT were practically dusting off their mantles. Not sure how many more twists I can take. (What is this, the “Wild Things” credits?)

  36. I’m doubtful about Revas chances. Take a look back at the last 20 actresses to win best actress. You don’t see a single wrinkle. Sorry to be ageist but it’s kinda true. If she starts picking up a few awards she may build steam but fact is Lawrence and Chastain are Gunna duke this out to the end. Both are young, as you put it “fuckable”, have hot careers and are Gunna charm the pants off any audience they get in front of! That’s what it takes right?? How else do you describe Sandra Bullocks win for Blind Side?!?! I give Larewnce the edge right now… SLP is obviously loved across the board and she’s the best thing about it!

  37. Plenty of surprises this year. Told you David O. Russell would get nominated.

  38. Today I just happened to watch the rerun of Oprah’s Next Chapter. The guests were Spielberg, DDL and Sally Field. OMG. She was over the moon for Lincoln. She called it modern masterpiece many times. The things she said were quite genuine. If she shared some of those comments with some of her academy member friends they would do nothing but vote for Lincoln.

    I know it is just Oprah. But again she is just Oprah. Also, DDL is such a great guy who comes across as a very articulate, hard working serious actor. I don’t remember how many times she used the phrase “one of the greatest actors” during that interview. Also I didn’t know it was Leo DiCaprio that persuaded DDL to reconsider Spielberg’s offer.

    And one final thing.. As we already know Lincoln is the fruit of one person’s long lasting passion. And that is Spielberg. Without him it wouldn’t have been the movie it is today.

    I hope, and want to believe, that Lincoln will win both BP and BD. It was the best movie for me. Then and still….

  39. Unlikely hood

    Fun trivia: how many films without Americans or Brits in them earned more than $100 million at the North American box office?

    I don’t know the answer, but I know one man who directed two of them – Ang Lee, with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi (soon it will cross the $100-mil mark here). Truly, the man is making the world a better and smaller place. Thank you Ang.

  40. Christophe

    @Dcr25
    I guess Lawrence, Chastain and Watts might cancel each other out with the bombshell-oriented vote. Then Q. Wallis would get the pedophile vote, and Riva can duke it out in the end, she’s quite the GMILF!

  41. I wish there was editing feature. It is soooo hard to write something meaningful with this iPad and its stupid auto correction

  42. Will critics choice awards tonight be televised?

  43. Let’s not get out the violins for Bigelow – you can’t really call her omission sexism – the fact that she was the first woman to ever win Best Director obliterates that argument. Plus, she won just three short years ago and for a infinitely better film than “Zero Dark Thirty”.

    Sure, Bigelow and Affleck were snubbed – but it’s not the director of “That’s My Boy” was nominated in their stead. All five Director nominees are certainly deserving of the honor. With only five slots, there were bound to be deserving directors left off the list.

    And it’s obvious the Actors Branch never got around to view the “Compliance” screeners that Ann Dowd herself had sent out. Because if they actually saw the film, she would have been nominated.

  44. I still feel betrayed over DiCaprio snub today. It doesn’t make any sense. Any time I think that a Best Picture front runner has a better chance of lending an Actor nomination (which is how it plays out in 90%) of the time, I remember Titanic and The Departed. So when he tries for other roles he still gets snubbed. I am running out of hope for him. What the heck is he supposed to do to ever get a chance at winning?! Or is it over and he’ll become the next Peter O’Toole

    Please someone respond. Thanks!

  45. Gustavo Cruz

    Sasha, I hope you’re not toying with our emotions. A Riva win would be TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

  46. Tero Heikkinen

    “I’m doubtful about Revas chances.”

    Reva means cunt in Finnish. Please, don’t :)

  47. It is shocking that Bigelow and Affleck weren’t nominated. But, this happened before, where two directors with lots of heat coming in to the nominations and precursors failed to be nominated–1995: Ron Howard, Apollo 13 and Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility.

    I don’t think that they were deliberately snubbed. People vote their preferences. I’m sure people assumed Bigelow and Affleck were safe, so they ranked other directors number one to make sure their favorite got nominated. Not enough people ranked Bigelow and Affleck first. It’s that simple. Too much analysis is going in to why they were left off.

  48. danemychal

    Everyone is saying SLP first to get all 4 acting category noms since Reds. But Reds lost, remember? Network brought the house down with acting noms — it lost too. Takes more than the acting branch to win BP.

    SLP is not in this race because it got in 4 acting categories; it’s in because of Harvey Weinstein. You can never count him out. If he takes it this year, it will be hard for me to get excited about the race ever again. I mean, I liked SLP but it’s not within spitting distance of about 6 or 7 better films in this crowded year.

  49. Christophe

    @Bsamo
    here we go again, that screwed oscar system need some tweaking, so voters can support all their picks not just one. A preferential points system would be perfect (#1 = 5pts, #2 = 4 pts, etc). Sorry if I sound overbearing but now that Les Mis is out of the picture, I’m officially campaigning for a voting system change that would be more satisfying for voters.

  50. Linc4Jess

    Glad to see “Django Unchained” get from my count 5 nods. Good to see Waltz getting a nod. DiCaprio should have gotten one too. I am kind of surprise for the lack of love for “ZDT” and “Argo”. If I am counting correctly…

    Lincoln – 11
    Life of PI- 10
    Silver Lining Playbook- 7
    Les Miserables- 7
    Argo- 7
    Django- 5
    ZDT – 5
    the Master – 3

  51. danemychal

    Unlikely hood – Danny Boyle with Slumdog Millionaire was one such director who accomplished that feat (en route to Best Picture).

  52. danemychal

    In my mind (in this crazy year), the nominations did NOTHING to clarify who will ultimately win BP (it narrowed down BD to 3 people I think though: Lee, Spielberg and Russell). The precursor awards could and likely will be ALL OVER THE PLACE. If you dont think Affleck or Bigelow could still win DGA and their films could still win PGA, you are not thinking clearly. There is backlash today. But I wouldn’t expect Lincoln’s support to defect. Les Mis? I think it’s toast. But you have Argo/ZDT at 4/5 right now with a chance to stun some people if they take either DGA or PGA. I think you won’t know who will win the BP Oscar for sure until the name gets read off the card.

  53. PatrickR

    @christoph – Good point about Zeitlin. There is usually an oddball choice in there each year. Can’t say I’m not happy about it though. Beasts was one of my favorite films of this year – and not a typical Oscar choice. I”m glad it got the love it did. I’d bump Ang Lee out for Affleck. Life of Pi, while pretty to watch, was a bunch of preachy nonsense, IMHO of course.

  54. RobinTMP

    danemychal: I take it you’re referring to BP here, right? If memory serves, Network took 3 out of the 4 acting categories that year (Actor, Actress & Supporting Actress), and Maureen Stapleton took BSA for Reds; neither movie won BP, but they weren’t totally skunked, either. It’s possible SLP could win more than 1 acting category w/Lawrence & DeNiro (somehow I just don’t see Cooper winning over DDL…), and yes, it could get BP in the end as well, but somehow I don’t think it will…just a gut instinct, which could always be wrong, but you never know.

    (BTW, Sasha, who won the portable Blue-Ray player? If you announced it, I missed it somehow…)

  55. What struck me is that it doesn’t seem that even the earlier voting dates can be attributed as the cause behind Affleck and Bigelow losing out to Haneke and Zeitlin. When ballots opened and when ballots closed, the leaders were Affleck, Bigelow and Spielberg and there was no possible way any of them would be snubbed. It’s one of the biggest surprises in recent Oscar history, I’m sure, and I can’t find any reason other than an extension of what we all said last year when The Tree of Life and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close did so well: the Academy will do what it wants to do, regardless of what the precursors are saying. This year, there were just fewer precursors to defy.

    Best Actress is so wide open. JLaw’s chances just went up, sure, but so did Emmanuelle Riva’s. But then, Riva doesn’t have a SAG nomination. And tonight, what if Jessica Chastain wins? Or what about on Sunday, when Lawrence isn’t up against the others? Naomi Watts could beat Chastain and Riva. Or Lawrence could win the lot.

    Truly, [Ang Lee] is making the world a better and smaller place.

    I know. What a guy. Delighted for him today!

    More cunts! We’re leading the way, Tero!

  56. @Guatam

    I totally agree with you. Here the Academy enlarges the Best Picture category a few years ago to make the Oscars more interesting, and with the snubbing of Bigelow and Aflfeck, any interest that was there is no gone. Not much of a interesting race anymore.

  57. SallyinChicago

    My big take away is that they stayed with the tried and true. There weren’t a lot of first-timers
    ^^ This has been my concern all along….5 of the Best supporting male actors HAVE WON BEFORE! And Alan Arkin? Give me a break. Small role, little impact. He had so few lines! Best supporting should have been Dwight Henry, John Goodman (Flight) or Leo.

  58. Alain Vezina

    Dear Sasha Stone, which are the two greats directors left out you are talking about. You are right about Bigelow but Affleck, a great one…! He is better each time. He has commercial flair but nothing else for me. Great directors have been left out: Paul Thomas Anderson The Master and Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom. I am happy that Silver Lining Playbook is nominated a good commercial and touching American Film is nominated for direction. A lot of people don’t like Ang Lee but he is a great one director. James Cameron was very impressed by Life of Pi. For me, the best selections are for directing, costumes and foreign films. The intouchables is very talky and using too many clichés. Amour, No, War Witch are very good films. My deceptions: Bigelow, Trintignant for supporting actor. But I loved the Oscars.

  59. SallyinChicago

    I wouldn’t bet on SLP winning (I haven’t seen it yet, don’t intend to)…David O. Russell’s last movie won 2 acting awards, and SLP should get a couple of acting awards, but no best picture.
    I think it’s going to be between Lincoln and PI; I’m praying that BOTSW sneaks in….look at the past 2-3 years….the winners have been small indie movies, no name actors and directors….movies with heart…could happen.

  60. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    [Aragorn, because you’re a loyal longtime friend of the site, the proofreading elves always fluff any serious typo flubs in your comments.]

  61. 2 things:

    1. Michael Haneke always felt like a strong contender for Best Director. Its Zeitlin and Russell that “stole” Affleck and Bigelow’s nods. This is a year where I would have preferred 6 nominees and just knock out Russell, though. Spielberg, Lee, Haneke, Zeitlin, Affleck and Bigelow. Now THAT would have been a list.

    2. I have to respectfully disagree that Argo didn’t appeal to the hearts of viewers. That movie had one of the most uplifting, emotionally satisfying endings of any film in 2012. It was pure Hollywood feel-good formula, in the best possible way. I refuse to use the “heart wants what it wants” argument to try and figure out why they snubbed Affleck. I personally think it comes down to Affleck being Ben Affleck, with all the celebrity baggage that comes with, and the fact that he’s only done 3 (spectacular) movies. Also, the Academy didn’t respect The Town or Gone Baby Gone AT ALL, and I have a strong feeling that this group doesn’t like to admit when its wrong about someone, even when they keep delivering great work after great work (Chris Nolan, anyone?). If that means they need to keep snubbing someone, so be it.

    To me the biggest snub of the day is no Cinematography nomination for The Master. That’s fucking ridiculous.

  62. Astarisborn

    Slumdog Millionaire win with no acting nominations = LIFE OF PI

  63. Brad, let’s not kid ourselves. Beasts and Amour were not as well directed as 0D30. They just weren’t. I don’t care about Argo. It was good. It deserved to be there. It was not head and shoulders better than Beasts/Amour. Kbig getting snubbed was ridiculous.

    However, you are correct that it isn’t sexism. I blame the extreme left-wing agenda. I think the idea that the movie promoted torture is ridiculous, but 0D30 first started to lose steam when that argument first came out (SAG snub).

    I’m so mad that I can’t really talk about anything right now. It sickens me how deeply Hollywood’s Liberalism affects what should be a merit-based process.

  64. unlikely hood

    Dcr25: I’m doubtful about Revas chances. Take a look back at the last 20 actresses to win best actress. You don’t see a single wrinkle.

    I grant, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep look unwrinkled, but that’s thanks to serious VFX.

    Good one danemychal. I wonder if anyone else has done it twice? Or once without a Best Picture win?

  65. “Pi” benefited the most, I think, today; lets not forget Spielberg was snubbed by Bafta yesterday; only Ang Lee has been consistently nominated by every single awards group. The lack of SAG nom can’t be comparable to “Slumdog” or “LOTR”, two films that triumphed without acting noms, because they were ensembles while “Pi” is not so it’s a different animal altogether. This year nothing should be kept off the table even when all the awards are given out, there is no discernible pattern as we learned after the Affleck/Bigelow, egregious, snubs. My money would still be on “Lincoln” but I’m just saying “Pi” is a formidable contender.

  66. Christophe

    @paddy
    truth is whatever happens tonight or in the wks to come, precursors don’t seem to matter all that much, unless all the guilds point in the same direction. precursor love can even trigger oscar voters to vote the other way…

  67. mdbDuke,

    While I agree that Bigelow deserved to be there, I disagree that 0D30 was better directed than Beasts or Amour. What is a director supposed to do? Their first, and most important job is to direct actors. Beasts Of The Southern Wild features some of the finest performances of the year, and all of them were delivered by first-time, non-professional actors. That a newcomer was able to direct a child to such an amazing performance, not to mention a beautifully natural performance by Dwight Henry, is no small feat. What Zeitlin did is practically a miracle. He definitely deserves to be there. Haneke, on the other hand, did something different, but no less impressive with his actors. He put his trust in veteran actors to deliver a painfully honest portrait of aging, and in one case (Riva), he got a miraculous performance that is virtually dialog free.

    Sure, these movies don’t feature tightly wound military raids, with helicopter landings (and crashes), but a director isn’t merely the person that stages setpieces in a compelling way, or someone who is able to command many elements in an orchestra of big budget filmmaking. Yes, it is incredibly impressive what Bigelow did. Yes, she very much deserved to be there. But not at the expense of the amazing work done by Zeitlin or Haneke. They are all equally deserving, for different reasons.

  68. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    mdbDuke, my man. I think this is the first time we’ve seen you comment but I sincerely hope it’s not the last.

    We’ve talked a lot on the Oscar Podcast about how badly Zero Dark Thirty has been damaged by fear. Fear from people who mistakenly think admiration for the film is in anyway related to admiration for the horrible things it depicts. Sasha has been saying how the first critics groups in mid-December were overwhelmingly swept away by Zero Dark Thirty — but the more hair-on-fire stories that peppered blogs and major media, the more skittish people became about openly admitting they thought the movie kicked ass.

    We saw a lot of weak-willy cowardice revealed today. Welcome to the madhouse.

  69. Just got back from Silver Linings Playbook. I am very happy Jackie Weaver managed to sneak in, frankly now I am surprised she wasn’t a stronger contender to begin with. Having said that I honestly don’t see how this film received 8 top nominations.

    Jennifer Lawrence was excellent, and whenever she wasn’t around, the film suffered, and kudos to Bradley Cooper, his performance was a revelation and a huge artistic surprise considering his previous work. I wasn’t that impressed with De Niro, but still, I can agree with the four acting nominations.

    What I cannot agree with is the Russell-love. I honestly don’t see how his directing achievement OR his screenplay was Oscar-worthy, in a lot of scenes I felt like the four excellent principal players were let down by the script and the direction. Oh, well, I guess the Actors Branch REALLY loved it and though based on the nominations, one could argue it could be easily a big threat for BP, as I said before, I honestly don’t think Silver Linings Playbook could be the Shakespeare in Love (=the Weinstein crowdpleaser) to Lincoln’s Saving Private Ryan (=the Spielberg epic). Round 2 should belong to Spielberg. In my opinion, these two films are not even close.

    P.S. Best Editing ? Really ? It was good, sure, but one of the BEST ? The Dark Knight Rises ? Anna Karenina ? Anyone ?

  70. SallyinChicago: The Academy prefers Arkin when he rarely speaks—in The Russians Are Coming he mostly speaks Russian and in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter he doesn’t speak at all. :-)

  71. I grant, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep look unwrinkled, but that’s thanks to serious VFX.

    If, by ‘VFX’, you mean ‘being extremely fit’, then yes, VFX.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/woman/life/helen-mirren-why-that-bikini-photo-will-haunt-me-for-rest-of-my-life-16056266.html

    :O

  72. unlikely hood

    mdbDuke: I think the idea that the movie promoted torture is ridiculous

    Why?

    Are you saying there no way to tell the story of the hunt for Bin Laden without graphic waterboarding scenes? Without including the line “You don’t want to be the last one holding the dog collar when the rules change”? Without Obama on 60 Minutes talking about the rule change and the CIA looking at each other like Great-What-the-Fuck-do-we-do-now? Really? NO way? NO other way to tell that story?

    I guess every other docudrama ever – United 93, All the President’s Men, Frost/Nixon, Patton, Dog Day Afternoon – could have ONLY been told the way they were told. I guess they didn’t have points of view, privileging one person’s story and opinion over another – no, guess not.

    Zero Dark Thirty was like a Nova special to you, was it?

    We’ve seen plenty of true stories where the characters felt remorse for crossing into an ethical gray area (Dog Day is one). This wasn’t that. They high-fived when they brought back UBL. Maya’s final shot was highly ambiguous – she could have just been cutting onions.

    You’re the one being ridiculous.

    Other than that I loved Zero Dark Thirty and I want thirty more films like it. But don’t pretend it didn’t verify every right-wing fantasy of how to conduct the war on terror.

  73. Redfox48

    mbdDuke is right, Zero Dark Thirty was more epic in scope and far more ambitious than her previous film, and she still managed to craft one of 2012’s best films. Bigelow was snubbed big time today and I don’t think its because of sexism, but more because of the Academy trying to avoid controversy and the various studios who accentuated the controversy with voters. Its a shame, but either way, awards don’t make the film. Also some films are respected more than they are loved and that hurt Zero Dark Thirty. Its kind of like a popularity contest.

    Lincoln has this one in the bag. Lincoln will get its fair share of votes and the rest will split. Argo and Zero Dark Thirty are essentially finished in the awards race, but will live on with fans. Awards don’t make the movie. But they are nice to have. Thankfully, Lincoln is deserving.

  74. Christophe

    @phantom
    from what I’ve heard best editing (like directing, acting and also writing) is a crucial nom for bp contenders so that might be why slp was thrown into the mix, to show it benefits from broad support throughout the academy and is right up there with lincoln and life of pi in the race for the win.

  75. I think Bigelow put it best a few days ago at the NYFCC ceremony :

    “I thankfully want to say that I’m standing in a room of people who understand that depiction is not endorsement, and if it was, no artist could ever portray inhumane practices, no author could ever write about them, and no filmmaker could ever delve into the knotty subjects of our time.”

    I honestly don’t see how anyone could vote for David O. Russell and NOT vote for Kathryn Bigelow, but then again art IS subjective, so I guess they simply loved Silver Linings Playbook MORE.

    Unfortunately Russell’s BD nod annoys me more than it should, because he knocked out arguably one of the greatest directing achievements in 2010 (Nolan’s Inception) and I feel he did the same this year, too (Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Affleck’s Argo, Anderson’s The Master, take your pick).

  76. Christophe

    thank god quvenzhane wallis will soon be an academy member!! her favorite movie of the year was the lorax (per thr, not posting bc i usually get blocked when i post their aticles)
    now that would be an interesting spoiler in the bp race!

  77. Ryan,

    now that’s a FULL service site administration:)))) I appreciate it. It’s better than what i would have done with it:)

  78. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Alan Arkin? Give me a break. Small role, little impact. He had so few lines!

    Lots of reasons Alan Arkin got a nomination. Here are two.

    1) All the voters saw Argo. Nobody in the Academy saw Michael Peña in End of Watch.

    2) Voters look at a list of nominees, they see the name Alan Arkin and say, “Hey! There’s our buddy Alan Arkin!” Then they see the name Michael Peña and…

    …haha, just kidding, they don’t even see the name Peña because it’s not familiar.

    plus, that accent is a tilde, and most of the AMPAS are usually blind to anything involving tilde or Tilda.

  79. Edkargir

    Ang Lee is a great director, but pi is not a great movie and it should not have Been nominated for best picture or best director .

  80. Once again, congratulations to Sasha and Ryan! The analysis here have always been the best. But this time they were special. You never lost faith that Beast and in Life of Pi would come strong and specially: this is the ONLY place where Lincoln x SLP was the race called since day one. And probably the only place that stick with Lincoln since the beginning.

    There were Oscar gurus this year that made great predictions but simultaneously made great mistakes. The guys from In Contention got Amour since the beginning. But went for the totally shut out The Intouchables. Dave Karger got the acting shock but did not do well in the lead categories and once again made a wrong call regarding the number of nominees.

    In all, Awards Daily was by far the one that got most tricky things right in such a crazy race this year.

  81. Does anyone know of a good red carpet stream btw? A CW stream?

  82. Mike Kelly

    I never felt that the DGA was an influence or guide for the Director’s Branch. Why would that small branch need a huge guild that contains directors from various media shape their opinion?. The five directors they selected all had their films nominated for Best Picture. Hell, the four they didn’t select, but were always in the running also had their films nominated for Best Picture. Now the DGA’s affect on the actors branch making their Best Picture selection is another story, and I think it’s the reason why they have always matched up better with Picture than Director.

  83. JamesinToronto

    Oscar noms aside, I have to say this is one of the best year’s in recent memory for films (for me). The nine nominated films prove that but so do the plethora of films that didn’t hear their name called today. Looper, Perks of Being a Wallflower, In The Family, Stories We Tell, The Avengers, The Central Park Five, The Imposter… the list goes on and on. And while I can quibble with certain nominations I have to be honest and say that if 2013 produces even half as many good films as 2012 I will be happy.

  84. I’ve been following this year’s race with a friend and 2 days ago I told him: “I don’t think Bigelow is safe.” He told me: “Safe for the win, or a nomination?” It took me five minutes to tell him “she’s not getting in.”

    For me, Affleck is the biggest snub, not Bigelow. You have a hundred ways to explain why she wasn’t nominated (and it’s probably a combination of many) but Affleck? I can think of only one and that’s how ‘elite’ is the Director’s branch. They don’t want the star of Gigli and Daredevil on their side.

    This year is such a great list of talent spread across different categories. I’m hoping for a Riva upset. Lincoln is my favorite of the year and I’m in love and forever will be with Ang Lee, so the love for Pi is welcome. Fuck Weinstein. Seriously.

    I told to my group of friends all year that Skyfall was getting an Original Score nom when everyone told me I was fucking nuts. I also said to them about Flight on Original Screenplay and some love for Amour (no pun intended) would be shown. That bluray player is SO mine next year :D

    Speaking of Scores, if you are interested, here’s some samples of this year’s nominees:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSV99R6dbhA

    Cheers!

  85. Also, with Lincoln’s biggest competition eliminated with the BD-lineup (Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Les Misérables, Django Unchained), it will be a very easy sweep, I think. Life of Pi probably won’t have the Actors Branch, Silver Linings Playbook lacks gravitas, and the Amour-Beasts duo are probably just happy to be in BD.

    Emmanuelle Riva could/should win, though, I agree, the support her film has, indicates she could be the rare SAG snubinee who could make it work at the Oscars. Wallis won’t come close, and I’m fairly certain Lawrence, Chastain, Watts will be considered as actresses who will have plenty of opportunities in the future to win an Oscar (hell, all three could be nominees next year already (Serena, Diana, Eleanor Rigby)). Riva won’t.

  86. I think Sally Field is still a contender big time. She is well liked in Hollywood and has shown acting longevity (a difficult feat for many an actress), portrays a real person and is equal to the other great acting in Lincoln. She and DDL had chemistry and were very convincing as a married couple.

    Anne Hathaway sings nicely and is young and hot and showed her snatch for the TMZ crowd. A hard Jack-in-the-Box combo to beat but if anyone can it’s this Mary Lincoln.

  87. what Yogsss said

  88. “Safe for the win, of a nomination?”

    Well, just replace “of” with “or” and you have what I wanted to say.

    [done – ryan]

  89. Bryce Forestieri

    Robert Downey, Jr. goes all in endorsing Naomi Watts to win Best Actress

    http://www.laineygossip.com/Robert-Downey-Jr-is-voting-for-Naomi-Watts-for-Oscar/25621

  90. Christophe

    @Yogsss
    thank god the writing branch isn’t as snobby as directors, they did nominate bridesmaids last year! for a while i thought ted could take that spot when mcfarlane was announced as presenter but the best song nom makes much more sense since he’s very fond of musicals.

  91. johnny14

    I have to say I’m pleased with this years nominees. Finally not just repeat of the guilds, and it makes it more exciting. And to me the Academy has it more right than the guilds. Beasts of the Southern Wild was a breathtaking movie, and while I think Argo was a good movie, it certainly wasn’t breathtaking. Lincoln to me is Spielberg’s best film. I’m not the biggest Spielberg fan, but I thought Lincoln was brilliant, and I think a lot of it has to do with Tony Kushner, as a I thought Munich was incredible. Comparing War Horse and Lincoln, what comes acrosss in Lincoln is the nuanced direction, it wasn’t a “Spielberg movie”, and that’s why its so great, and I don’t mean that in any disrespect for the man. As for Katherine Bigelow, I think Sasha you pegged it right. It isn’t sexim, it was political, people felt digusted by the torture scenes, as well they shoud, but I think they took it out on the wrong person.

    I was a big Cloud Atlas fan and wish it would have gotten something, Production Design and Score at the very least, what I don’t fathom is Skyfall and Lincoln for the score. Skyfall was just generic action music, and in Lincoln I was glad when Mr. Williams wasn’t playing his Amistad rejects. Honestly, John Williams is the most overated composer Hollywood has… how is it the best score (Beasts of the Southern Wild) didn’t get a nod, after all the love the Academy showed? Wierd.

    But all in all I’m pleased, more so than other years. I don’t really get the Supporting Actor retirement club, especially Allan Arkin, but maybe I’m not as wise as others. I loved the character, but there are others that deserve that spot more than he.

  92. Christophe

    bad news for trintignant fans… he announced on french radio that he’d never act ever again, so the acad just missed its very last chance to nominate him, well maybe they could give him a lifetime achievement award but i doubt they will.

  93. Well thought out observations, Sasha.

    “Academy voters were flying blind, without the DGA, PGA, WGA and ACE Eddie. They had only the films they’d seen”

    What I got from today was that the above statement truly measures how they want to vote as opposed to how they feel they should vote.

    Each niche voted in their categories and everyone voted for BP. Without a DGA slate, there were bound to be inconsistencies, but the gap between the DGA and the directors branch of AMPAS must be incredibly wide – OR the votes were agonizingly close. It’s a shame for Bigelow and Affleck, I agree, but (besides Russell), who would you drop?

    Another thing today’s results showed were just how incredibly close the BP race is: when was the last time we had this many films with seven or more nominations? Usually we have two frontrunners with double-digits and the tag-alongs with five or 6.

    It’s not over for any of the BP noms who are now in the race without a director. If ever there was to be another Driving Miss Daisy year, this is it. Anybody who thinks Argo, ZDT and Les Mis have run out of gas is crazy, especially since their directors have been shoved aside. Any hidden passion for these three will come barreling back, I have no doubt.

    This is a year for the record books. In fact, the only category that gives me zero interest right now is supporting actor. The snooze-inducing slate full of repeaters just doesn’t have the excitement score, cinematography, or (dare I say it?) best song.

  94. SallyinChicago

    idea that the movie promoted torture is ridiculous
    ^^
    Bigelow belongs in the running. The reason she’s not is because she’s being called before the Defense Investigation and McCain and his campaign against the picture. I hope ZD30 wins just for payback.

  95. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    It’s a shame for Bigelow and Affleck, I agree, but (besides Russell), who would you drop?

    We can try dropping Russell twice?

  96. The omission of “Middle of Nowhere” has nothing to do with racism or sexism. It opened a couple of months ago and hardly anyone went to see it. It didn’t warrant expansion beyond its limited release. It couldn’t even earn $1M. Voters can’t see everything, so it’s no wonder that this probably stayed at the bottom of their stacks of screeners.
    Even “Compliance” slightly outgrossed “Middle.” Did sexism keep Ann Dowd out of Supporting ACTRESS?

    When many movies are worthy, some directors get left out. I feel sorry for Affleck and Bigelow, and I rarely feel sorry for Affleck. But, he’s directed three good movies in a row and gotten zero Oscar love.

    In the acting categories, 14 of 20 are Americans. 2 of the 14 Americans are African-Americans. Those who care about such stats should have no reason to complain. (Latinos should be questioning JLo about her crappy project choices.)

  97. SallyinChicago

    Anne Hathaway sings nicely and is young and hot and showed her snatch for the TMZ crowd.
    ^^ This is Anne’s to win…Hollywood loves those singing roles (Minneli, Ross, Streisand, Hudson)

  98. @Christophe: Yep. At least the writing branch tends to do good with their picks. There’s the usual “successful comedy” nominated here and there, but overall they do fine. I thought the same about Ted (successful comedy anyone?) but when they announced it for Song I said “There’s your reward, Seth. No more.”

    @Steve50: Song is definitely exciting this year. Considering the music branch of the academy is an inexplicable clusterfuck, they came out with a lot of good choices.

    Actually, you know what? Except for Supporting Actor, every category is somehow really exciting. At least for me, it is :D

  99. Bryce Forestieri

    Just following on what Ryan and someone else were commenting about the Alan Arkin nomination, here’s a few names I would have written down in my hypothetical ballot before even thinking of Alan Arkin

    Michael Fassbender, Prometheus
    Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
    Michael Peña, End of Watch
    Jim Sturgess, Cloud Atlas
    James Gandolfini, Killing Them Softly
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
    Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Knight Rises
    Tom Hardy, The Dark Knight Rises
    Eddie Redmayne, Les Misérables (Yeah I know, shoot me dead)
    Jeroen Perceval, Bullhead
    Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
    Garrett Hedlund, On the Road (the film sucked ass)
    Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom

    Now don’t get me wrong I think it’s a serviceable performance with a couple of good one liners, but it’s just on par with what Jeff Daniels did in LOOPER; now do I think Daniels’ performance should be nominated? Hell no.

    Subtract “Argo fuck yourself” and what’s left?

    And I haven’t seen ZDT so the list might easily be longer!

  100. unlikely hood

    phantom, Sally, Ryan, whoever –

    I’m not particularly liberal (I vote for Republicans for my state legislature – California – because Democrats have ruined it) but I will keep going down this torture road as long as you want to keep being wrong. And when I hear you say things like “depiction is not endorsement” I will ask, again, as I have asked here a dozen other times:

    What precedent is there for this?

    Name one – ONE – docudrama that portrayed something immoral without making it clear that it was against the thing being portrayed. When you watch either the fiction or the documentary about the boys that raped Teena Brandon, you know the film isn’t endorsing Brandon’s rape. When you watch The Insider, you get the moral point. When you watch In the Name of the Father or Dead Man Walking, no one thinks “clear endorsement of the criminal justice system” – instead it’s examined and held up to criticism.

    Every time ZDT torture comes up, I come up with three new examples against it. And in favor, all of you come up with ZERO (dark thirty).

    So did Bigelow and Boal reinvent the wheel? Is ZDT the “Citizen Kane” of our time?

    Only if you think there’s only one way to tell a true story.

  101. SallyinChicago

    This just in from the LATimes headlines:
    Zero Dark Thirty’ is undeserving victim of politics
    By Kenneth Turan
    Critic’s Notebook: Director Kathryn Bigelow should have gotten an Oscar nomination for ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ But unjustified criticism by three U.S. senators prevented that. Ballot | Complete list | Full coverage

  102. Bryce Forestieri

    Shi-iit was Silver Linings Playbook that abysmal? I really like it.

  103. “I hope ZD30 wins just for payback.”

    Thank you, Sally. This is exactly the kind of passion I was talking about being reignited because of the director omission issue. Those films are not out of the race by any stretch of imagination and we are ripe for a split.

  104. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Name one – ONE – docudrama that portrayed something immoral without making it clear that it was against the thing being portrayed.

    Examples are few because most movies spoon-feed their audiences with easy answers so nobody has to think or be troubled. I’m not interested in playing a game of Match This Movie to Something We’ve Already Seen with you.

    But if you think serious directors never show people torn by morally tangled situations then you don’t watch many serious movies.

  105. A couple of things I would like to say:

    Saving Private Ryan losing to Shakespeare in Love is not even close to Brokeback losing to Crash, so I would not compare the two things.

    Shakespeare in Love is, after 14 years, the only example of a great successful revisitation of romantic comedy, theatre in film and literary divertissement all together. It won also because it is something different and new. No other film like that won oscar BP.

    Saving Private Ryan is a great achievement in film directing for the first 40 minutes but then loses part of its grip. It’s not the best war movie ever and at least 2 films that year were better; Shakespeare and Life is Beautiful.

    Crash is a nothing filled with stereotypes both cultural and cinematic. All films nominated and some not nominated that year were a lot better

    Brokeback Mountain is a groundbreaking masterpiece that should have won.

    Zero Dark Thirty: I think that the torture controversy should have damaged more the writing than the direction, but it didn’t. Today Mr Boal was nominated for writing Zero dark Thirty, Bigelow wasn’t nominated for directing it. I strongly think that sexism has something to do with it. She won in 2009 and I believe more than a couple of people in the directing branch wasn’t happy with the idea that she could win again.

  106. Bryce Forestieri

    @Akumax

    “Brokeback Mountain is a groundbreaking masterpiece”

    Why????? Not asking for an essay, but jeez

  107. Ryan,

    I agree. When I first saw Russell’s name, I thought “OK Hooper is out”, and that would have been expected. When I saw Haneke’s name I was like “oh poor Ben Affleck, he is out”. But when I saw Zeitlin’s name I was like “WTF????, do they have 6 BD nominees this year?…But they didn’t..That was a bummer…

    I also agree that while Ben Affleck’s directing was good, I would have gone with Bigelow if I had to choose one from those two.

  108. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    unlikely hood, I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but the fact that you’re vehemently opposed to something and you wish a movie would be equally vehement in opposition is hardly a fault of the film.

    I’d guess that people have some pretty strong opinions on both sides of the assisted suicide argument, but I don’t remember anybody losing their wad over the behavior depicted in You Don’t Know Jack.

    (it’s actually not that easy to come up with a relevant list of top-notch “docudramas” so you are asking us to find examples of a genre that Hollywood rarely had the balls to tackle objectively.)

  109. Bryce Forestieri

    Seeing ZERO DARK THIRTY in less than 3 hours so finally gonna know what the fuck everyone on here is whining about!!!

  110. Jack Traven II

    So many here already said so much. And whatever I add will probably not live up to that. So …, well, I’ll write it anyway. ;-) But I’ll cut it short. Since I haven’t seen all of the contenders, but most of all since I don’t know enough about movies – in contrast to most people here. That’s what I learned. But that’s OK by me.

    So, what I want to say is that I’m pretty happy about the love for SLP. But like a lot of others I’m pretty sad about Affleck’s snub. And I’m also sad about The Intouchables’s snub. … But, well, life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, right? :-)

  111. very interesting nominations with many surprises but what is not at all surprising is all the complaining– if the nominations had not been surprising there would be a great deal of complaining– it all comes down to a few thousand people with their individual tastes and biases voting individually– yes, there are trends and precedents but all we really can count on is that no matter what their unpredictable aggregate choice is, there will be all kinds of complaining (just like I am now)

  112. Robert A.

    I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet and so don’t know how I will respond one way or another, but on the subject of any other film/docudrama that depicts something immoral without making it clear they are against what is being portrayed, wasn’t that a charge that used to be leveled against the classic foreign film The Battle of Algiers? There was an article over on Huffington Post a few days ago that compared ZD30 to The Battle of Algiers, in case anyone is interested. It was titled “The Importance of Zero Dark Thirty.”

  113. Bob Burns

    very good thing the academy is voting without the influence of the guilds…. a little goofy but the Oscar flacks will adjust their strategies next year.

    my guess is that the guilds will try to reclaim their lost places by moving their dates forward but I hope not.

    not worried that the directors branch of the academy made the “wrong” picks for director. their lineup is excellent.

    obvious they don’t give a rats ass about the entertainment journalists known as critics.

  114. danemychal

    Terribly stupid to ask John Williams to recite names of movies he’s scored. Terribly stupid. Awful “journalism”.

  115. @ Bryce,

    some quick off topic thoughts:

    Brokeback mountain grounds its roots inside the most evoking and important male genre in Classic Cinema, Western, to tell the nemesis of a western story, a love between two men. Nobody in Cinema History had ever tried doing something remotely close to that. Risky? Very. And the result? Groundbreaking.

    Ang Lee, Larry Mcmurtry and Diana Ossana built a plane adaptation of a 40 pages short story that subverts one of the strongest of taboos and goes far beyond that. They went so deeply into those characters dealing with love denial privation fear pain that even if we are not familiar with how a homosexual should feel in a world that screams everywhere that he/she is wrong we understand that everything that comes from not learning and accepting who we really are is diminishing our lives immensely, and spreads unhappiness all over. How much we let the world around us kill our true soul? How much we lie to ourselves and to the one we love? Brokeback Mountain might tell a story about two men falling in love in the 60s in rural America but it becomes universal in its display of the human condition in so many ways that is moving and shocking to me.

    All that and more is done not waisting a single camera shot: every beat is visually strong and narratively pushing the many levels of story and plot forward. Acting is unforgettable and we exit the theatre feeling we profoundly know Ennis, Alma, Jack and Lureen, etc… because at some point in our lives we met one of them and/or we are one of them.
    Don’t let me start about the relationship between editing and music in this film… next time…

    That, in my opinion, is a masterpiece and I don’t think I’m standing alone.

  116. Cristian

    Well… it is dates the main problem. The thing is that most movies for Oscar season are released in Dec. so they can be “fresh”, but If this continues this way, then the movies will have to be released in advance, so they can actually be considered in the categories they deserve. Zero Dark Thirty was released in very limited theaters, not good with this set of dates.

  117. unlikely hood

    I appreciate the reply Ryan.

    You Don’t Know Jack was interesting – and even-handed, I thought. So was Dead Man Walking, for my money. ZDT was Dick Cheney’s fantasy of the last decade. That seems less even-handed to me.

    However I loved it in many ways. I agree 100% with David Denby’s review in The New Yorker. He gives it a rave for its “radical realism” as he calls it – but again, with caveats. And he appreciates the non-spoon-feeding you mention, as do I – but again, this isn’t exactly one scene in the movie.

    unlikely hood, I don’t mean to sound dismissive, but the fact that you’re vehemently opposed to something and you wish a movie would be equally vehement in opposition is hardly a fault of the film.

    You make it sound like I’m this hippie insisting that every character recycle every water bottle they drink in every movie. Hardly. All moral people are against torture just like we’re against rape.

    I would have loved a movie about how we got our hands dirty to get Bin Laden. But this film didn’t say we got our hands dirty. Those high-fives at the end looked pretty clean-handed to me.

  118. Bryce Forestieri

    @Akumax

    Fair enough. I happen to be queer, but my favorite film that year was A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. I really liked BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, and it did make my top 10, but I didn’t fret when it didn’t win. Also I still don’t consider it a masterpiece nor groundbreaking in any way. I also like MYSTERIOUS SKIN (from that year) better than BROKEBACK. Appreciate it tho!

  119. unlikely hood

    Robert A. – great example! I teach that film almost every semester. I would argue though that after you see Battle of Algiers 3 or 4 times you see it siding with the rebels – as it should. Sasha says she’s seen ZDT 6 times and still sees the same problem I do!

  120. @Bryce.

    We agree on Mysterious skin and A History of violence being great films.
    Good luck for your night at Zero Dark Thirty

  121. Denton27

    Was shocked when seeing Affleck and Bigelow snub. However I never though Bigelow could pull a second win in such a short period of time after her first win, regardless of her gender. Plus the whole (ridiculous) prosecution she has received over torture would hold her back, the AMPAS would not want to associate themselves with that backlash when they are trying to get more public support.

    With Affleck, someone has pointed out his previous Oscar. In all honesty I thought support for Affleck and Argo was building but looks like it has been brought back a fair bit. However I can’t see it going away empty handed. But the other guilds might determine where it will get awarded. Personally I don’t understand why Arkin got so much love, he had funny lines but just seemed to act like a grumpy old man similar to Little Miss Sunshine.

    Looking at the noms, I feel that SLP has to win a major award. It has noms in all the major categories and it seems to be getting big support. It seems to be strongest (pre noms) in Best Actress but Lawrence does have heat from Chastain and Riva. I can not see it coming away empty handed but can’t see Russel coming away with BD (with lacking the guild love and many bloggers here seem to detest his inclusion). Perhaps if it gets more support it could take BP?

    With Lincoln, I personally can not see it coming away with both BP and BD. I don’t know why, maybe because it is quite historical but I feel a split coming and I am not sure which way. I can see Spielburg taking BD with this film being his third masterpiece. It makes sense when looking at his other two wins that this would follow suit. In my view, his threats are Haneke and Russel. Russell has the noms while Hanake has an amazing body of work and maybe it is his time to finally repay him? Hanake could get BD with Amour taking FL and Lincoln getting BP. However in all honesty I think The noms have almost sealed it for Spielburg. I can’t see Lee coming away with it, LOP will get the techs but nothing too big. Plus Spielburg hasn’t won since late 90s and Lee won more recently.

    With acting, If Day-Lewis loses I will be shocked. Perhaps the academy will want to award another actor instead to try spread it out but he is on a tidal wave of awards and the film leading the noms has made him the strongest contender. Plus he is a bloody good actor too. I also believe that this is Anne Hathaways year. Her strongest contender it seems is Sally Field but I beieve this is where Les Mis will get their award recognition. Hathaway has not won yet while Field has two wins. Hathaway also was in TDKR which brought in huge box office so this has been her year.

    With BSA, I see this category as a films ‘concellation prize’ rather than the actor’s achievement. Each actor has already won an Oscar and are actors in a BP film (except Hoffman). But this would be an area where they will award a film if they lose out in other areas. If Lawrence doesn’t gain BA and SLP doesn’t get BP or BD I can see them giving the award to De Niro. This will give SLP an acting award and also honour De Niros amazing career with a third oscar and he can join the ranks of the greats. (as will Day Lewis and Spielburg for the matter, three threes? Potential pattern). If Argo gets nothing they may award Arkin but as previously said, his role seems to much like LMS and he was better in that anyway. Can’t see Waltz getting the award as it is another Tarantino movie that he shined in. If love for the Master grows, hofman could get the prize, esp since it was snubbed for BP. Or if a lincoln sweeps occurs, Lee Jones could get it. I believe this category will be the most interesting and unless the other awards all choose one person, I believe this will be a shock.

  122. unlikely hood

    Akumax –

    Just to give you one more reason to love Brokeback Mountain – notice how in the first half, almost all the props are straight from the 19th century. The tent they stay in, the lantern they use for light – these are out of John Wayne films. It’s not like people didn’t have plastic tarp-tents by the 1960s, or flashlights. But you don’t see them in the first half of Brokeback (later in the film, paradise is lost somewhat). Sometimes my students say “It’s not a western!” and I point them to the production design. Watch again and you’ll see – it’s amazing. Ang Lee is a genius.

    Robert A. – I hope I wasn’t too dismissive of your example. Battle of Algiers was on this year’s Sight and Sound top 50, and I’d say ZDT was 90% that good – that’s not small praise. But Algiers takes you into the material suffering of the oppressed people and we understand that they have to kill or be destroyed. Deaths matter in the film; it ain’t “Taken” where the body count is like, whatever. And I’d say deaths matter in ZDT too – I’m still shaking from that bomb that went off inside the CIA compound – it’s just a little issue I have, like Denby.

    None of this means Bigelow deserved vitriolic hate – she didn’t. She deserved a Best Director nomination. But I’m not gonna sit here and sweep torture under the rug like Bush and Obama did.

  123. If there is anything that is good about this, is that it has exposed some things that we already knew:
    – For the most part, the voters go by other awards, which is a bad president. They should actually see the films and vote on what’s best, period.
    – This time, they HAD to vote on what they saw, for the most part. Sure, supporting actor probably came down to who they knew and all of those guys are names, given they have all won the Oscar before, so I’m sure that, although there was most likely heavy support for Dwight Henry, how the heck do you beat those five guys that made supporting actor, if it’s a name game and that what these awards have become over the last ten or so years.
    – Lincoln is not a slam dunk. Granted, it got the most nominations, but that can sometimes hurt a film and given the politics, the president that it is about, etc., who is surprised. You did not need precursors to vote on a film getting rave reviews with Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead.
    – Actors for Actors. There might be quite a few actors who will think that Daniel Day-Lewis, regardless to how good they may or may not think he is in this film, might feel it’s a bit too early to bestow a third Oscar on him. There would be too many “Firsts” here. First actor to win 3 lead Oscars, to do it all in less than 25 years, to do it in only five nominations, a non-American at that, etc. And I can see that playing a part into it as well. Actors also like Washington quite a bit, and they really like Phoenix, so whether he’s an Academy lover or not, he could still win it. As I mentioned in another post, George C. Scott won it, even after saying he didn’t want it and asking to be removed from the list well before it was given out. If this is a tight race, this could turn out to be the shocker. It’s possible that any of the actors could win it. Who’s to say that Day-Lewis can generate a bigger voting party than Washington or Phoenix, especially since it’s pretty clear that there will be a vote spread here. Not only that, I just don’t see The Master not winning something. It’s possible, but I have to see it. That film, for whatever issues it may or may not have had, was an acting tour-de-force, and I suspect it will have heavy support from the actors branch. I see somebody winning from that film.
    – Riva looks really good right now. Especially with Cotillard left off the list, which in a way is a shame, given that it was every bit as good a turn as her Oscar winning work in La Vie En Rose, but two foreign nominees? Plus, Marion’s role was the tougher sit and she’s a prior winner and the older crowd will be looking to embrace Riva’s work. You understand the path on the road to death when you’re older and remember the average age of most of the Academy members.
    – Feel good. Well, Silver Linings is not alone. Pi is beginning to feel like Slumdog to me, and if it continues to grow, WATCH OUT.
    – Chariots of Fire? Could we have that kind of year, where they open the envelope and say and the winner is: “Beast of the Southern Wild”. I would scream! Just like I did, when Chariots pulled it off.

  124. @unlikely hood

    thanks!

    Ang lee is a true genius.

  125. Any comfort in here as to why ZDT is DEAD??? I’m ecstatic for Amour and all the love it is getting (especially because it is my favorite film of the year) but i can’t get into terms as to why Bigelow’s masterpiece (which is by many far superior than The Hurt Locker) is out of the game(i loved ZDT, i still feel ZDT under my skin). I can’t understand why???

  126. alan of montreal

    I honestly don’t understand what all the fuss is about with SLP. I’ve liked some of Russell’s work in the past (I Heart Huckabees, in particular), and SLP is entertaining, but it’s also incredibly contrived (especially the last 10 or 15 minutes of the film). I think it deserves it’s best actor and actress nominations (though I would have preferred John Hawkes over Bradley Cooper) and a case could be made for Robert De Niro (but there’s really only one scene where I saw something that I haven’t seen from him before). While I like Jackie Weaver, she barely registered for me in the film, and that slot could have definitely gone to Ann Dowd, who must be kicking herself right now. SLP plays a bit like a more contemporary All in the Family fused with As Good as It Gets.

    Having said that, I am intrigued by the fact that it has a nominee in each acting category. That’s really rare. I can’t even think of the last time that happened. Reds? Is that going too far back?

  127. (I need a new handle.)

    Meryl’s third win last year is the best thing that could have happened to potential three-peaters Spielberg, Day-Lewis, DeNiro and Field. (IMHO, DeNiro and Field are longshots.)

    Modern Hollywood gets its panties in a bunch whenever a movie contains something that appeals to conservative or religious folks. A few people were waterboarded and a substantial number of people believe that it was helpful. ZDT depicts that, so its director gets punished. Jesus was tortured, and Mel Gibson depicted it graphically/realistically; many Christians were moved by the film. The Academy could not reward it.

  128. Disappointed that “Cloud Atlas” didn’t get Best Score, I’ve spent days listening to the main theme on a loop. And very upset that “This Is Not a Film” didn’t get nominated, could have been a powerful moment. But Benh Zeitlan makes up for it, still my favorite film of last year. Desplat’s nom for Argo instead of ZDT is a surprise to me. Best Supporting Actors is such a weird category this year, I guess they’ll just give it to De Niro. Never saw that coming a year weeks ago.

  129. @ Vily
    Who knows why DiCaprio gets repeatedly snubbed. I’m not one who thinks he should get nommed for every role. I didn’t see anything Oscar worthy about his performance in “Titanic” but I thought he should have won for “The Aviator” or “The Departed,” one of the most raw and soulful performances I’ve ever seen (and, as a New Englander, I can attest that his accent was great). I also lived hom though in “Blood Diamond,” so was glad he was nommed for that. I didn’t think he was worthy of a nomination for “Revolutionary Road,” (no one from that film was) or “Shutter Island” (he was bit over the top.)

    But, still, other actors give lessor performances and get nominated. Given that last year he was clearly snubbed since he got noms from BFCA, GG and SAG, and given that he should have won preciously, II thought they might at least give him a make up nomination this year. But I guess not.

    So, I have no answers for you, but there are many like you questioning his constantly being overlooked. I would imagine even some Academy members wonder what he needs to do to finally get an Oscar.

  130. I thought Sasha said that Chastain had the year’s best performance. Now it’s Riva? After that I assume it would be Watts…
    The best performance this year is Lawrence. She’s the most talented actress of the bunch. The only mark against her is that she is 22 and is not in an Oscar formula role. Lawrence cn certainly lose, but my call is that when the acting guilds finally vote she gets the nod.

  131. @ SallyinChicago

    Yeah, it amazes me how the Academy goes gaga if an actress sings. She doesn’t even have to give that great a performance, but if she sings.

    Then again, it didn’t work out for Madonna.

  132. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Yeah, it amazes me how the Academy goes gaga if an actress sings…
    Then again, it didn’t work out for Madonna.

    Madonna is the opposite of an actress who sings.

  133. @Tony – I just don’t think Hollywood cares about the torture scenes in ZD30. I think Bigelow missed out because the director’s branch of the Academy is an Old Boy’s Club and the film didn’t have time to sink in.

    Many probably thought her movie was too similar to The Hurt Locker. Mind you, they don’t hold most of their other current members like Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, or past members like Wyler, Ford, or Stevens to the same standards.

    I think Ben Affleck suffers from his former Golden Boy status, as well as being relatively young. I know Redford and Costner have won after wearing a similar mantle, but they were a bit older when they did so.

  134. @ Ryan

    I’m not sure Madonna ia a singer who acts either.

  135. Bob Burns

    points for wit, Ryan

    unpredictability is Oscar’s friend…. it’s good when people tune in and believe their fave can actually win.

  136. @ Mac

    Quote: “Many probably thought her movie was too similar to The Hurt Locker. Mind you, they don’t hold most of their other current members like Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, or past members like Wyler, Ford, or Stevens to the same standards.”

    Well, as probably doesn’t need to be pointed out, they are men. Women always have to do more to prove themselves, expectially in a “man’s” job such as movie directing. The added controversy about torture didn’t help her either.

    When Bigelow won a few years ago, I think some of what helped her was being the first woman to win. Given the criticizm of the lack of female directors or nominations for female directors, the Academy could say, see, we’re not sexist. We’re hip. (The Academy is always way behind the times, no matter how cool they think they are.) Also, the contest that year was between Bigelow and her ex-husband, Cameron, who already had an Oscar. It was kind of a woman scorned revenge win. And, it was unexpected. Her movie sort of came out of no where and caught everyone off guard.

    The directors are a Boy’s Club and I think it will be a while before they let another “girl” in.

    As for Affleck, I’m not sure what to think. Usually actors turned directors do great at the Oscars and given that they nominated the film and Arkin, I figured Affleck was a lock. It’s weird, but then these nominations are weird in many ways.

    I’m still nursing the sting of DiCaprio’s 87th snub, so I’m not sure what to think about Affleck’s.

    In some ways, this year the snubs are more interesting that the nominations.

  137. Okay, final comment of the night.

    I hope that Affleck, Bigelow and DiCaprio win at the Golden Globes (a directing tie) and that one of them has the guts to get up on stage and tell the Academy to go f*** itself.

  138. The Japanese Viewer

    Sasha,

    Thanks for a good read and some thoughts on *last night’s phenomenon [different time zone].

    “…films by other directors are more emotionally moving.” — Sasha Stone (citing as one of the possible reasons for the two directors to have been left off the list)

    ^ Those are more or less words of wisdom.

    Congratulations to David O. Russell for the Best Director and Best Picture nominations – whether or not his name officially is part of the producers should not matter to him in his case. It’s reportedly personal to him and I believe so (I am referring to an element of the family affair). Apparently, the voters also feel connected enough to show some love to him as a director. Good for him.

    I am happy for Life of Pi and Ang Lee to have received such a Buckingham-Nicks-like big big love from the voters. It seems to me the voters truly enjoyed their spiritual journey.

    Okay, Mr. Scholz and Ms. Wilson – Amanda and I are more than ready for the third stage so please spare a little candle save some light, and the seats, for us.

  139. Am I the only one that hated Life of Pi? What a boring, overblown, implausible mess.

    I’m sorry Sasha but you should not invoke sexism because Bigelow missed out. Affleck missed out too. They just didn’t like her movie as much as you do.

  140. And after this fucking-unbelievable-unpredictable day, do I need anyone trolling Brokeback Mountain and asking why?
    Frankly…
    The best I can do is talk to my pillow…

  141. Bball_Jake

    Holy shit is all I have to say! This was the greatest year in movies in a long time, but they only nominated about 5 good ones for BP. How could they snub such great films? I don’t get it and I never will. The Academy has their weird ways, but its whatever. The trick is not minding.

  142. terometer

    Stop struggling. Another winning year for Weinstein film. I bet there is going to be serious take down jobs on SLP from certain bloggers, and then it still will win. But i guess those bloggers are never tired of struggling and losing.

  143. I agree Emmanuelle Riva feels like a force to be reckoned with at this point, especially considering the strong support for Amour, but it would be quite something if she wins without even being up for SAG or a Golden Globe? When was the last time that happened?

    Also, her only chances to win and make a gracious french woman speech were at the Golden Satellites, which she lost to Lawrence, and the Critics Choice, which she just lost to Chastain. Last chance to test run her as a winner will be the BAFTAs (unless anyone wants to dig up footage of the European Film Awards). But I think I;d kind of prefer her winning without any “trial run”.

    At the Globes, it will be Lawrence and Chastain / Lawrence and Watts taking the spotlight, and one of the same three will repeat at SAG.

    For a fourth Actress to come along and take the Oscar would be quite something. What a brilliant last minute twist. Bring it on! Sure the average viewer will be blindsided, but the rest of us had to sit through Sandra Bullock winning an Oscar over… let’s not go there.

    Adrien Brody is the closest example of a last minute upset (Although he at least contended at the Globes and SAG, but I don’t think many people saw his win coming), and it felt right. Very right. Sometimes when we’re undecided about our obvious options, it’s because there’s a better one in the wings. Like Riva.

    That being said, if it comes down to Bradley Cooper or Jennifer Lawrence taking home gold obo SLP, PLEASE give it to Lawrence!

  144. Silver Linings Playbook will probably take something. I doubt DeNiro has a real shot. They won’t give a third Oscar to an actor who’s become a near-joke in the last 10 years. The nomination is more than enough.

    Lawrence is a possibility. Cooper is a possibility. Adapted screenplay is a possibility. But in the end I believe LINCOLN will still take picture, directing (meh), supporting actor, adapted screenplay.. I don’t see Day-Lewis winning. I simply don’t.

    In actress Chastain is a possibility, but I’ve been telling for months that Riva could become a force and being snubbed by both SAG and the HFPA works for her. This year the guilds don’t mean much and we see a very independent Oscar. We’ll see how the awards will go.

  145. Daniel B.

    Enough with the overhyped ZDT. Actually Bigelow’s career is the most mediocre of the bunch. Prior The Hurt Locker she has directed only bad action movies of which no one cares. So it is not a big pain that she is not a 2-time nominee.
    Ang Lee really deserves admirations – he is an incredible director that isn’t afraid of the challenges and the different genres.
    Ok, Bigelow may be good with the action sequences but that’s it – her filmography is very boring.

  146. K. Bowen

    Great procedurals tend to have a strong directorial stamp. All the President’s Men has Pakula’s sense of enclosing paranoia. Zodiac has Fincher’s gift for composition. ZD30, IMO, is missing this, or perhaps only has it at the beginning and end. For that reason, it drags at times.

    Perhaps the reason that Bigelow wasn’t nominated is that she didn’t do as well with the material as she did with The Hurt Locker.

  147. Riva didn’t get to accept her European Film Award. Apparently she was too sick to even send some video message like Tritignant did. And if she’s in New York right now, I am not sure she will be in London to accept a BAFTA. At 85 fyling across the Atlantic isn’t really the best idea.

  148. K. Bowen

    PS: The real director snubs were the Andersons.

  149. The Japanese Viewer

    [In case what I understood to be an indirect response to my previous comment was correct.] Just because I am happy with big big love shown to Life of Pi and Ang Lee by the Academy, it doesn’t mean that I have no fraternal love left in my heart for Affleck. If one can’t get over it for fact that their idols — Affleck in one’s case — have not been nominated, well…. But for the record, I was not trolling for fun using Pi as a bait. Not to mention Brokeback – way way out of context…. (And for good measure: for the time being, I will still pick Crash over Brokeback at Mr. Oliver Stone’s any given Sunday.)

    And I love Ben Affleck-directed films.

    Side note:

    There’s a mention about All the President’s Men by another reader (K. Bowen). I was too young for the big-screen showing but I finally took a pleasure of watching it on cable TV in 1990s and 2000s. Despite a much smaller screen and everything else, this film truly stood shining. While I often had a personal issue with 70s and early 80s films in terms of its nostalgic and retro elements, etc., such was not a case at all; All the President’s Men has proven entirely engaging and inviting to me. Masterpiece.

  150. Riva should win the Best Actress easily looking at the competition. Chastain has got a good performance but not at the level of Riva. Lawrence’s performance is not oscar-worthy.

  151. Well, we’ve now left the nominations stage and the awards season get real with actual awards when the Golden Globes are presented on Sunday. After that we should get a more clearer idea of the state of the race.
    This is the most interesting Oscar race for 10 years – a decade ago THE HOURS was favourite to win Best Film, but CHICAGO won; Martin Scorcese was favourite to win Best Director (for GANGS OF NEW YORK) but – very surprisingly – Roman Polanski won for THE PIANIST; Daniel Day-Lewis was favourite to win Best Actor (for GANGS OF NEW YORK) but Adrian Brody won for THE PIANIST. I wonder if LINCOLN is this year’s GANGS OF NEW YORK – the great 19th century American drama by the great American director and starring Daniel Day Lewis?
    However, LES MISERABLES will have the last laugh – it’ll almost certainly out gross all of the other Best Picture nominees. Without a Best Director or Screenplay nomination, the chances of a Best Picture win are slim. But then the Academy have surprised us already this year.

  152. Scott (the other one)

    Gotta agree that Emmanuelle Riva is a very serious dark horse in the Actress category.

    It looks like Chastain may be out, due to the ZD30 backlash. And while Jennifer Lawrence is a babe, and a hot right now, and is very good in SLP, many voters may think that she will have lots more chances to win. Also, SLP could well turn out to the the little human comedy-drama that gets lots of nominations and no wins, like The Descendants and Up in the Air. It certainly ain’t gonna win screenplay against Tony Kushner.

    But Amour clearly has a huge amount of support from the voters. Five nomnations in five major categories — the last Foreign Film to have the same nominations in those major categories was Life is Beautiful and remember what happened there. Also, Oscar loves to reward old dames — Jessica Tandy, Geraldine Page. And finally, Riva gives such a truthful, naked, heartbreaking performance — just using her face and voice, with no tricks or special effects. People like and enjoy SLP, but Amour is DEVASTATING.

    So right now, I think that Riva may be, if not the front runner, a very strong candidate to pull of an upset.

  153. SLP is this year’s Up in the Air – nothing more. Without Harvey, Russell would not have had any chance for being nominated.

    Amour is also the dark horse in BP race and imho it is the best movie on that BP list. It will surely get more attention with all these nominations and voters will more closely watch that movie – big advantage for a foreign language film being on the BP list.

  154. Agree that Amour is the dark horse – but is it too dark? Riva could win and I’m hoping she does, but I don;t see AMPAS handing over BP to a forign film two years in a row.

    Yes, “without Harvey….” But this is WITH Harvey and SLP is his prize horse in the race now. It’s very dangerous to underestimate him.

  155. Riva is not the dark horse anymore (BAFTA + Academy nods). She is the clear favorite from now on looking at the big nominations Amour has received.

    Let’s look at the real performances rather than looking at what the guilds or critics groups did up until now. That is why we missed that BD list. I have written many times here that Zeitlin and Haneke are coming! Everybody was joking then but it was very clear.

    Same story again…

  156. @Des Brown:

    “But then the Academy have surprised us already this year.”

    And I hope the other surprise will be Argo for Best Picture!

  157. donnadara

    I was really sad to see Middle of Nowhere snubbed. It was my favorite movie of the year. @Tony, I’m sure you’re not suggesting that the quality of movies is judged by the box office. How many blockbusters are in the nominees?

  158. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    “You make it sound like I’m this hippie insisting that every character recycle every water bottle they drink in every movie.”

    sorry, unlikely hood. You’re right. That was clumsy of me. You’re right that it’s right to oppose revolting things.

    I think what I mean is, in some instances, I see value in a movie that chooses to observe and depict revolting things dispassionately. A movie that doesn’t hold our hand crossing the street, and doesn’t try to cover our eyes. A movie that shows us things that happen in the world and then allows us to make up our own minds about the revolting things we’re seeing.

    I think another thing I mean is this: If a movie shows Navy Seals high-fiving each other (behavior I don’t find hard to believe) I don’t project that onto imagining that Bigelow and Boal are high-fiving each other.

  159. I’ve got a qs which needs answering, or debating. Since Network in 1976 no film has won 3 acting categories, this year has provided us with 2 movies which have the ability to do so.

    Lincoln – Best actor is DDL’s to lose, Tommy Lee Jones could very well win supporting actor. Sally Field is the one to watch, Hathway seems ready to win, but can Sally Field win her 3 for 3. If anyone can beat Hathway now its Field, will the voters reward her for her career span, she’s very much respected amongst the actors. Or did the voters cried more for Hathway.

    Silver Linings Playbook – This is more of a longshot since bradley cooper and jackie weaver are no way near winning. DeNerio could also win, but his previous wins are for raging bull and godfather II, ver far from the character he’s playing. Lawrence has a pretty good shot for winning. And in the end SLP has Harvey Weinstein and we all know how that influences the race.

  160. It would be nice to see Spielberg winning best director again! For the best actress race, as long as it’s not J-Lawrence, I would be happy. I really think SLP is an above-average rom-com, that’s it, and nothing more. However, based on her popularity, she could win this easily if today is the telecast. I would be ecstatic if Watts win in an Adrian Brody surprise! I know Sasha says Riva’s chances are high, but I just don’t really see it even though she gave one of the best performances this year. So Hathaway is probably 80% close to winning her first Oscar? Would PSH win again (this time supporting) for the Master?

    So many tantalizing storylines this season on…”The Oscar”!

  161. ‘ It’s a shame for Bigelow and Affleck, I agree, but (besides Russell), who would you drop?’

    Exactly Steve.
    I liked Argo, and it’s not like it wasn’t recognized by Oscar. Affleck was not ‘snubbed’ – it was riding such a momentum of ‘it’s a lock’ that when Affleck didn’t get the coveted BD nod, people were surprised. That is all. Does Affleck – and his Hollywood buddies – honestly believe he was more deserving than Zeitlan for instance? Because that would have most likely been the name dropped with an Affleck nod. Argo was well-made and entertaining but it was not as accomplished, IMO, as Lincoln, Life of Pi, Beasts etc…..
    Other directors have been passed over for much stronger, weightier films.
    It took Eastwood, Beatty years to get respect by Oscar…..
    Ben, Argo was not Reds, so get a grip.

  162. Michael Baum

    As as Bigelow’s “snub,” one thing not mentioned in Stone’s article is the fact that Bigelow won an Oscar in the Best Director category only three years ago. Many voters feel the desire (rightly or wrongly) to “spread the wealth around” when it comes to Oscars. And with so many other strong contenders they simply may have felt that, all things being equal, they wanted equally deserving and talented directors to be recognized. Bit it does suggest that “Zero” is probably not the Best Picture contender many had thought it was. As far as “Argo” goes, I can see how some may have found it solid and well-made, but lacking a certain passion and emotion that the other nominees have. But, hey, it’s all subjective. One person’s masterpiece is another’s snooze-fest. The winner will most likely be “Lincoln.” My personal favorite, “Life of Pi,” which I found more emotionally satisfying than Speilberg’s respectful, but a little reserved, effort.

  163. ‘As far as “Argo” goes, I can see how some may have found it solid and well-made, but lacking a certain passion and emotion that the other nominees have. But, hey, it’s all subjective. One person’s masterpiece is another’s snooze-fest. The winner will most likely be “Lincoln.” My personal favorite, “Life of Pi,” which I found more emotionally satisfying than Speilberg’s respectful, but a little reserved, effort.’

    While Lee has always been one of my favorite directors – he is one of the most imaginative and surreal filmmakers – Lincoln was the emotional experience/passion project of the year for me.
    But I agree with your point. Argo, imo, lacked the gravitas of both of those films and others on the noms list, so all this Affleck sympathy is silly to me.

  164. Jason Travis

    @Zooey: How do you not see Day-Lewis winning??? Are you kidding me? LINCOLN was a success BECAUSE of his performance. He is, after all, playing the most famous President in US History and one that has been imitated endlessly (on the level of Elvis). And he did it without going over the top or being hammy. How is LINCOLN winning best picture without him winning actor? Explain please. And don’t tell me Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman are gonna steal this from him. It doesn’t matter if it’s his third Oscar ,he’s winning this on merit alone and not dumb politics or “personality on E!” standards. If anyone beats Lewis it will stand as one of the biggest injustice days in Oscar history. Cooper should be happy Hawkes didn’t beat him out to the fifth spot. Jackman was great in Les Mis, but not as great as Lewis. The support clearly lies in Spielberg’s movie. I don’t care how many secret handshakes Harvey is passing along in the hallways, he ain’t getting Cooper a win.

  165. In all the washup of the nominations, I am very glad for one thing. Pheonix

  166. great way to end it.

    2012 was a wonderful year in film. Certainly one of my favorites.

  167. alan of montreal

    I saw Life of Pi last night, and I think that Suraj Sharma should have gotten much more awards attention than he has. I would have nominated him over Cooper, for sure.

  168. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I saw Life of Pi last night, and I think that Suraj Sharma should have gotten much more awards attention than he has. I would have nominated him over Cooper, for sure

    I wish this was a tweet so I could RT it.

  169. Tammy K. Murphy

    At least she was considered, or there was talk of her movie being nominated…and it her ((((second)))) film…some new white writer/directors might not have even got there that quick

  170. @Jason

    I do believe Zooey doesn’t see the Academy giving a third Oscar to DDL in a short span of time (23 years overall-Jack Nicholson won three Oscar in 22 years) because it took Meryl nearly 30 years to get a third win overall and a second in lead.
    But the members don’t think that way. They’ll give it to DDL because they love him and he has just the right “timing”.
    That’s what’s all about at the Oscars.

  171. Jack Traven II

    I did a lot of thinking since my last comment. (It’s sometimes better to put mind in gear before opening mouth. ;-))

    Regarding the back and forth concerning the director snubs I would say that the reason why Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed might very well have something to do with sexism among the predominantly male members of the Academy. Why? Because most commenters here already believe that this is not the case. I know it sounds contradictory. But the fact that the Academy already honored a female director (ironically the very same woman this year’s current controversy is about) means that this decades-long wall of injustice doesn’t need to be taken down anymore. What means again that the Academy could actually go back to business and only nominate male directors. And nobody could blame them for not nominating/honoring female directors (anymore), right? Well, lots of comments here seem to prove that correct. Superficially seen it might be true. But given the fact that the amount of women having been nominated in the BD category over the last 85 years is vanishingly low, this appears to be pretty ridiculous. … And the reason why Ben Affleck also wasn’t nominated might have to do with his political views or the fact that most of the members just don’t seem to like him (anymore – since he already won an Oscar). He just seems to be this year’s Christopher Nolan in a way.

    And yet another thing:

    The apparently rising and exaggerating hate towards Silver Linings Playbook is sheer …, wow, words fail me. Alongside the superb and convincing performances I think that SLP greatly mirrors our society (which seems to be on the verge of failure), symbolically as well as directly: its protagonist’s previous stay in a mental institution with all the medication and the racial slur causing the fight prior to the football game are perfectly representing how we are mostly kept still (e.g., regarding political decisions) and dumbed down. And to see someone trying to break from something like that and start a new life in the end is really more than encouraging. And that should actually be something everyone can relate to. And, well, cheer for. But as it seems …

  172. Jack Traven II

    And by the way …

    Irony: People who (seem or pretend to) have the highbrow ability to recognize a deep and meaningful film but actually lack the manners to get their opinion concerning another – in their eyes inferior – film across properly.

    ;-)

  173. Jack, I don’t think people ‘hate’ SLP so much as feel that perhaps it may be the inferior film. It’s good, well-acted……a nice little story. But even my niece, who loved the film and performances, feels that there is a big difference between it and say….Life of Pi, Lincoln Beasts….
    It’s the feel-good Oscar film – every year has one. But it just doesn’t have the weight of the others.

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